Universal Automotive owner Dale McAlpin Jr., right, and mechanic Vernon Faulkner work on a repair job at the Roseburg auto repair shop on Thursday.

Every day of the week since they opened on July 29, Vernon Faulkner and Dale McAlpin have had people drive up and ask them to work on their vehicles.

McAlpin and Faulkner have been working on cars since before they were teenagers and opened up the shop as a way to pay for their car-building hobby.

“I said, ‘What the hell?’ Got licensed, bonded, insured, and all that fun stuff,” McAlpin said. “Told him, if he could make some money and keep the bills paid, I’d keep working on my hot rods and have fun with it.”

The sign in the driveway says “We work on anything that has a motor” and McAlpin stands by it.

“Four-wheelers, chainsaws, lawnmowers, horns, tractors,” McAlpin said. “Anything with a motor in it. He specialized in high school in small engine repair and I owned a landscaping company for years here in Douglas County, so I’ve worked on every type of lawnmower and stuff too.”

Most of the vehicles in the yard belong to McAlpin or Faulkner, but they prefer to take one car at a time.

“Kind of like a good doctor,” McAlpin said. “A good doctor only accepts so many patients. They want to be personable and get to know every one of their patients. That’s how I am with my customers in my frame shop and here.”

McAlpin said he’s really excited to offer an affordable alternative to other mechanics in the area.

“We’re both believers in karma, I guess you could say,” McAlpin said. “We kind of believe everything you do in life, you better do for the right reasons. There’s so many auto shops around here that screw everybody. They need an honest auto shop. We don’t cut corners. We get a lot of people who say ‘can’t you just,’ it’s like, ‘well you can just take it down the road, because that’s my biggest thing.’”

He hired Faulkner when he got suspicious of his old business partner cutting corners.

“I’d tell Vernon, ‘anything it needs, you know what to do,’” McAlpin said. “He knows, you fix everything.”

They are renting the shop, but McAlpin hopes to buy it if the business goes well. Even with the overhead, they are both willing to barter.

“We work for trade — everything from baked goods to hunting rights,” McAlpin said. “Working for people, you know you’re doing someone right. You’re doing something that you would trust your wife and kids behind the wheel.”

Janelle Polcyn can be reached at jpolcyn@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow her on Twitter


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Janelle Polcyn is a reporter at The News-Review, graduated from the University of Texas, and is a podcast enthusiast.

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